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NEWHAVEN — A  UNIQUE FISHING VILLAGE ON THE COAST OF THE FORTH, PROUD OF ITS TRADITIONS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

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Eyemouth Fishing Disaster 1881

Reproduced from the Edinburgh Evening New


Saturday 15 October 1881

VIOLENT HURRICANE — GREAT LOSS OF LIFE — EXTENSIVE DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY


A storm of extraordinary violence set in on Thursday night and raged for the greater part of yesterday all over the country, causing great destruction to property and loss of life.  All telegraphic communication between Scotland and the Metropolis was broken down by the wreckage of the wires and in several parts of the country similar isolation has occurred.  Hundreds of magnificent trees have been torn to pieces or uprooted and cast across the roads, rendering traffic impracticable.  From all parts of the country floods and serious agricultural havoc are reported. Railway traffic, in consequence of the destruction of signal posts and wires, was carried on with difficulty and the drivers of express trains report that they could scarcely maintain their footing on the engines. Snow lies deep in the north and the lower ranges of the Grampians have also received a coating of snow.


The shipping casualties are very numerous; a number of vessels being wrecked along the coasts, in some instances all hands being lost.


Monday, October 17th, 1881

THE STORM — DISASTERS TO FISHING FLEET — HARROWING SCENES


The disastrous results of the storm last week have now been properly realised and it is seen that so far as the Berwickshire fishing fleet is concerned, they are the most appalling that have fallen upon the fishing population of that quarter within living memory.  Of the boats belonging to Eyemouth alone, several were wrecked within sight of the harbour and altogether 64 lives are known to have been lost, while 11 boats with 74 persons on board are still missing. There is but too much reason to fear that most of them will never be heard of.


NEWHAVEN LOSSES

A deep gloom prevails in the fishing village of Newhaven, where, out of over 400 hundred fishermen, 17 have perished in the storm.


The incidents connected with the loss of these men, which almost all took place in the vicinity of Dunbar, have already been recorded and there is little new to add regarding them.  Many bodies found near Dunbar were brought back to Newhaven but some were never recovered at all.  In all 44 children will be left unprovided for by these losses.


Some names of those killed or missing;-

Pilot Boat ‘Concord’ - crew - John, James and Walter Johnston. ‘The Perseverance’ (the largest boat) - crew - John Carnie, Boreas Hall, William Inglis, Peter Inglis, John Wilson, John and David Lyle. 10 Children left unprovided for from this boat alone.  ‘The Robinas’ - a boat 24 feet in length and missing - crew - William Rutherford, Matthew Hume (age 18), William Liston (age 17) and Alexander Noble who leaves nine of a family.   ‘The Stormy Petrel’, a pilot boat, left Dunbar on Friday morning and is also missing - crew - father and two sons - David Stevenson, Hugh Stevenson and Philip Stevenson.


A Mr Merrilees from Newhaven, who has been along the coast as far as Dunbar in his carriage, picked up the mast, tiller, rigging, compass-box, a cravat and stocking belonging to the pilot boat 'Stormy Petrel', which was lost on the passage home from Dunbar.  A total of 12 children will also be left unprovided for from this vessel.


LOSS OF LIFE AT FISHERROW AS WELL AS THE DUNBAR DISTRICT.


The storm appears to have raged with extraordinary severity in the Dunbar district. Of the fishermen who went to sea, all returned in safety before the storm reached its worst. Besides those which have already been accounted for, there were four boats observed to go down off Skateraw and five off Redheugh, each of which would at least have a crew of six men. In all something over 60 lives are calculated to have been lost on the coast between Dunbar and St Abb’s Head.


RELIEF FUNDS SET UP


A meeting was held in the Free Fishermen’s Hall, Newhaven on Saturday night, to arrange for the fundraising of subscriptions for the relief of the widows and orphans of the fishermen who were lost in the gale of the 14th inst.  Ex-Baillie Lindsay, Leith, presided.  He moved that the meeting expresses its deep and heartfelt sympathy with the many sufferers by the disastrous storm.


Seventeen lives had been lost from Newhaven and there were nine widows.


A committee was formed, subscriptions were collected and prompt relief given to the sufferers.